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Official Vs Unofficial: The In’s and Out’s of Campus Visits

With the NCAA Division 1 recruiting ban being lifted in a few weeks time, the opportunity for talking with coaches, meeting with staff, and visiting campuses are back in full swing at the highest level! Campus visits can be one of the most fun experiences of the recruitment process. Seeing the intricate buildings and facilities, learning about the culture and history of the school, even attending seminars and events enhances the experience. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many student athletes have not had the opportunity to experience a campus visit. However, with schools and organizations slowly beginning to open up down south and back here on home soil, these opportunities will begin to pop up. Knowing the difference between the types of visits, how many you can do, when you can do them, etc., is key to staying eligible and making the most out of your recruitment process. In this week’s installment on THE BLOG, we will be taking a look at the ins and outs of campus visits.

Official Visit

An official visit is simply any campus visit or tour that has had a portion of it funded by the school or athletic department. The funding could be used to offset travel costs, hotel costs, meals, etc. You are only allowed one official visit per school; you may however make as many unofficial visits as you would like at a school. At the NCAA Division 1 and 2 level, you are only allowed a maximum of 5 official visits total. At the NCAA Division 3 and NAIA level there are no restrictions on the total number of official visits you can take, however you are still only allowed 1 official visit per school. For USPORTS here in Canada, you are eligible for one official visit per institution in a 365-day period for a total of two visits per institution in your lifetime. With the exception of football, there is no limit to the number of institutions you can officially visit within the USPORTS association. Official visits can be one of the most influential experiences when it comes to helping you make your decision on where you would like to attend and compete for your collegiate years. It is important to gather as much information as possible and use the many resources that get provided to you while you and your family are on these visits.

Unofficial Visit

An unofficial visit is a campus tour where you yourself schedule the visit. No part of the visit is scheduled or funded by the institution and almost all interactions are done on your own. There are no restrictions on the number of unofficial visits that an athlete can take at an institution regardless of league or level. Unofficial visits can still be planned by a coach or administrator in terms of timing and passing along information, however there can be no funding or financial assistance during any point of the visit. A well thought out and planned unofficial visit can allow you to gain all the information you need to make an informed decision about the institution. Many schools offer campus tours, seminars, open houses through other faculties outside of athletics which can be a great way to learn more about the campus and school culture without having any formal contact with coaches. When done properly unofficial visits can have just as great of an impact on future student athletes as official visits.

In today’s landscape it may be hard to imagine going on a campus visit and learning about different potential landing spots for your post secondary career. As society begins to open back up here in Canada and across the different states in America, coaches will be chomping at the bit to get their high priority recruits on their campus. It is important that as a student athlete you understand the rules and regulations around the different types of visits so that when your time comes, you can make the most out of many different experiences.